Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Media Release: SANParks CEO Congratulates Rangers On Arrests of Suspected Poachers In KNP

There has been a rise in the number of arrests of suspected poachers in the Kruger National Park (KNP) since the beginning of April of this year. Since the beginning of this month there have been 22 arrests for suspected poaching activities inside the KNP. This brings to 56 the total number of arrests in the Park since the start of 2015.
KNP rangers, bolstered by additional aerial and canine support, have managed to substantially improve the effectiveness of anti-poaching operations inside the Park.
In a dramatic swoop shortly before sunset on 25 April 2015 SANParks rangers, supported by the Dog Unit, the SAPS reaction team and a helicopter donated by the Howard Buffet Foundation: netted two suspected rhino poachers- following a sighting in the Phalaborwa area of the KNP.
The team recovered a 458 hunting rifle, ammunition and poaching equipment. Two sets of rhino horns were also recovered during the arrests.
In a previous incident on the morning of 22 April 2015, rangers conducting anti-poaching patrols in the southern region of the KNP came across signs of a group of poachers operating in the Park and discovered a freshly killed rhino with its horns removed. The rangers immediately called the Joint Operations Centre in Skukuza for additional aerial and canine support. The newly acquired anti-poaching helicopter along with a ranger reaction team and tracking dogs were immediately dispatched to the area to support the rangers on the ground. Shortly after the arrival of the reaction force, the rangers arrested four suspected rhino poachers and managed to recover a heavy calibre hunting rifle, ammunition, hunting equipment and a fresh set of rhino horns.
Last month a second state of the art Airbus AS 350 B 3E helicopter donated by the Howard Buffet Foundation was commissioned into action. This brings to four the number of helicopters available for anti-poaching operations inside the KNP.
Mr Fundisile Mketeni, CEO of SANParks has congratulated the rangers on the recent arrests.
“SANParks, on behalf of all South Africans, wishes to thank our rangers and our partners in the SAPS and SANDF for their dedication to this fight,” adding: “SANParks is making every effort to increase support to our rangers in the field: enhanced aerial support and the use of the canine units are both becoming an increasingly vital component of our anti-poaching strategy.” “Given the increasing number of arrests, this strategy is clearly paying off,” says Mketeni.
Issued by:
SANParks Corporate Communications
Media enquiries:
Paul Daphne
Head of Communications,SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5072; Cell: 082 806 5409
Reynold Thakhuli
GM Media and Stakeholder Relations
Tel: 012 426 5203 Cell: 073 373 4999

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